AND THEN CAME MORNING
AND THEN CAME MORNING is offered exclusively on patreon, featuring beautiful illustrations. The story arcs will be combined for prints in the future.
Ezriel waits approximately thirty-one minutes before calling again.
The weather is bleak, London’s grey sky drawing overhead in sweeping motions, casting a thin blanket of dull against the murky street. It’s rained recently, and the wetness has somehow made its way to the ends of Ezriel’s trouser legs, clinging to the fabric of his socks and soaking them as well. It’s no longer raining now though, and the streets are empty. If it weren’t for the constant flashing of sirens and the flurry of law enforcement moving on the front lawn, he would have long since assumed the city falls into a quiet slumber once the sun dips away.
The line goes straight to voicemail. Again.
“Fuck,” Ezriel mutters, pulling back and staring angrily at his phone before he hits retry, as if the results would be different the third time. Amin’s ID photo appears on screen, straight-faced and serious. It’s a good photo, works perfect for Amin’s badge, and Ezriel despises him for it, having been told to smile for his own. He refuses to look at it now, his awkward grinning lips the forefront of an even more awkward expression, guided by the photographer to smile! The phone continues ringing before Amin’s picture drains of colour and his curt voicemail can be heard.
Detective Amin. Leave a message.
Ezriel’s thumb hits retry without a second thought. Or a fourth.
“Stop calling,” a voice mumbles from behind him, startling Ezriel enough to nearly lose his grasp on the device. He whips around to meet the gaze of a dreadfully unamused Amin, mirroring his photo.
“Where were you?”
Amin doesn’t answer immediately, reaching out to hit the red end call symbol on Ezriel’s phone, effectively dismissing his photo. “I made it. What happened?”
Ezriel frowns, because not only is Amin late, but he hasn’t bothered to read the lengthy briefing he took the time to write, in the rain, as his trousers soaked his socks. When Ezriel turns to face the taller man and possibly give him a piece of his mind, he’s met with tired eyes. Amin’s piercings are missing and even his septum ring is flipped up and hidden beneath his nostrils. His shirt is loose, almost too big on him and his trousers appeared haphazardly thrown on. There’s dotting bruises blooming subtly around his neck, creeping behind his ear and Ezriel is met with the distinct image of Amin in bed with a lover. Did his lover kiss him goodbye, watching as Amin is summoned to a crime scene at the godly hour of 3:00 am?
“You planning on answering me, Wang?”
Ezriel’s gaze snaps up to face his partner, finding the tiredness in his eyes suddenly much more enjoyable.
“Double homicide,” he says, turning away from Amin. His glasses slide down the bridge of his nose without his permission, but it’s three in the morning and he’s tired too. He makes his way past the police-imposed barricade, talking over his shoulder. Quiet foot falls behind him are the only signal that Amin is following close behind. “There was a call around 2:15 am, concerned neighbor.”
The cop at the front acknowledges the two of them as they enter, and when they pass the door, the still world animates itself. Police officers move through and around the house, scattering about like bees and anyone not dressed in the traditional uniform were huddled together at the doorway leading into the kitchen.
Ezriel continues, leading them towards the small group. “Three gunshots were heard. Cops run in to find the husband, Mr. Jonathon Myers, found dead in the kitchen. He—”
“He was shot from behind.”
“—was shot in the head, yeah. His wife, Mrs. Angelica Myers, was found in the bedroom, also shot in the head. We’re still investigating the supposed third shot fired.”
Amin doesn’t reply as they make their way into the kitchen. The body of Jonathon Myers remains relatively undisturbed, his arm draped over his face, as if embarrassed with his lack of control in keeping his brain matter in his skull.
“The husband and wife were in two separate rooms,” Amin states. “There doesn’t look like any signs of a struggle.”
“The cops were the one to burst open the door, but yeah, both bodies show no sign of struggle. Whatever happened was a surprise.”
Amin glances around the kitchen, stopping at the body once more before making an exit. He’s always had trouble with scenic violence and when Ezriel eventually finds him in the backyard with a water bottle in his hands, Amin looks worse than he did when he arrived.
“You haven’t checked the upstairs scene.”
“I’ll look at the photos,” Amin says.
“Too lazy to climb the stairs?”
“They won’t find the third bullet case.”
Ezriel kicks a loose patch of grass. It falls away, it’s synthetic roots already withered away from the rain. “I figured as much,” he says, touching at his pocket for his smokes. He finds the pack eventually and manages to wiggle one out and bring it to his lips.
Amin eyes him wearily. “Why do you still smoke that shit? Why not just get the implant?”
“I don’t know,” Ezriel sighs, glancing up. The sky is completely grey now and the smell in the air, despite the smog from the stick in his mouth, tells him it will open up soon. “It’s a comfort.”
“They were shot by someone they knew,” Amin says, mirroring a gun with his fingers. He points at Ezriel.
The first couple of droplets fall, landing right on his glasses and blurring his vision. Amin’s fingers twitch. Another lands on the tip of Ezriel’s nose.